Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

I don’t care how basic it is. I love pumpkin everything. There, I said it and there’s no shame in my game. Lattes, bread, cookies, pasta, you name it and chances are I’ve made it and devoured it. But of all of the pumpkin treats I’ve made, these mini pumpkin cheesecakes are by far my favorite.

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Unlike traditional cheesecake that is labor intensive, requires a water bath and takes forever to bake, these mini cheesecakes take 30 minutes in the oven, have a super simple ingredient list and bake in cupcake tins. So easy!

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We were having friends over for the Steeler’s game on Sunday so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a batch.

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I’ve been making these for years with all sorts of flavor combinations using different fillings and cookies as the crust. For this batch, I used Goodie Girl’s seasonal Caramel Apple flavored cookies with pumpkin spice filling and whipped topping. They were to die for and the Goodie Girl cookies worked wonderfully. They had great crunch, and the caramel apple flavor added a really nice tart kick.

If your store doesn’t carry the caramel apple flavor, I think their toffee crunch or even chocolate chip cookies would work well also.

If you are looking for an easy fall treat that is perfect for parties, give these a try!

Ingredients (Prep Time: 15 min. TotalTime: 50 min. Serves: 15):

For the Crust:

  • 1 box Goodie Girl Caramel Apple Cookies (about 2 cups of crumbs)
  • 4 tbsp butter (melted)

For the Filling:

  • 12 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree

For the Whipped Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners (you will need 15).
  2. In a food processor, pulse cookies until they are fine crumbs. Add in melted butter and pulse until well incorporated.
  3. Distribute cookie mixture among cupcake tins (about 2 tablespoons per tin) and press into the bottom. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes until they just start to brown.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, greek yogurt, sugar, egg, vanilla and pumpkin puree until smooth.
  5. Distribute cheesecake mixture evenly among cupcake tins. Bake for 25 minutes until the middle isn’t jiggly and the top has browned a tiny bit. Once removed from oven, let them cool completely.
  6. In a medium mixing bowl, whip heavy cream until peaks just start to form. Then, mix in cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and pumpkin spice until they are well incorporated and smooth.
  7. Serve cheesecakes with a generous dollop of whipped topping and enjoy this delicious, seasonal treat!

 

 

 

 

 

Chēbē Feta, Olive & Rosemary Focaccia

Several years ago, I tried Chēbē’s products at an expo and fell in love. The mix itself is free from pretty much every allergen, is vegan, and tastes wonderful. It is incredibly versatile and can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. I have recently partnered up with Chēbē and will be developing a few recipes with their products over the next couple of months.

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The first recipe I came up with is this Feta, Olive and Rosemary Focaccia. Since the dough is made with tapioca and there is cheese added to it, the bread is perfectly crispy on the outside while keeping a chewy texture inside.

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If you wanted to use this for sandwiches, I could see it being delicious with Italian meats, vinegar and spices. That being said, it’s packed with flavor on its own and I enjoyed it dipped in a bit of olive oil with a glass of red wine. I will warn you, it is incredibly addictive and it didn’t last 24 hours in our apartment before we finished the whole loaf (there are only 2 of us).

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If you are interested in trying out this recipe, I have seen Chēbē products in Whole Food’s or you can order boxes through their website.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

Ingredients (Prep Time: 15 min. Total Time: 60 min. Serves: 8):

  • 1 package Chēbē Focaccia Bread mix
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 4 Tbsp. milk

Optional Garnishes:

  • Thinly sliced lemon rounds
  • A few extra olives
  • Rosemary
  • A sprinkle of flaky sea salt and black pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with 1 tsp. of olive oil.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl combine Chebe Focaccia bread mix, mozzarella, feta, eggs, olive oil, kalamata olives, rosemary and milk.
  3. Knead with your hands until everything is well incorporated and the mix is smooth, springy and dough like.
  4. Place dough on baking tray and press out into an oval shape, about 10 inches across at its widest point.
  5. Using your finger or the back of a spoon, poke 10 or 15 dents in the top of the dough.
  6. Brush the top of the focaccia with a bit of olive oil and top with lemon rounds, olives, feta, rosemary, salt and pepper.
  7. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, let cool slightly and enjoy!

Not-So-Classic Mac & Cheese

I’ve always considered Mac & Cheese an ultimate comfort foods However, as I got older, I started eating gluten-free and my taste buds evolved a bit and boxed mac and cheese lost its appeal.

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I came up with a healthy gluten-free mac and cheese recipe using Banza noodles made from chickpeas. They are high protein and have a unique texture. I think they taste especially great in this mac & cheese recipe and add something interesting to it.

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A fellow blogger recommended cooking the noodles in chicken broth for extra flavor which was a great idea. I also threw in some broccoli to cut down on the carbs a bit and add some extra veggies. However, that is totally optional and can be omitted. This is a great recipe for a healthier twist on classic Mac & Cheese that both kids and adults will enjoy. This recipe will make about 3-4 servings as a side dish or 2-3 servings as a meal.

Ingredients (Total time: 30 min. Serves: 8):

  • 1 box Banza Noodles
  • 2 cubes chicken bullion
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. gluten-free all purpose flour (I usually use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 ½ cups 2% milk
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 ½ cup shredded cheddar
  • ½ cups shredded parmesan
  • extra salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook noodles in a medium pot according to package directions, but throw 2 cubes of chicken bullion into the boiling water. Once cooked, drain, place back into pot and set aside.
  2. Steam broccoli until completely cooked, drain and place in pot with noodles.
    In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter and stir in flour. Let the mixture bubble for about 1 or 2 minutes stirring the entire time.
  3. Slowly add milk to flour mixture about ¼ cup at a time whisking the entire time. Once the sauce starts to thicken, add the next ¼ cup of milk. Repeat until you have added all the milk and until the sauce is nicely thickened. Continuing to whisk the entire time.
  4. Whisk in paprika and garlic powder. Once incorporated, add in all of the cheese and whisk until totally melted.
  5. Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and broccoli and mix in cheese sauce.